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Centre okays plan to assess impact of climate change

NEW DELHI: Amid all-round criticism from environmentalists for ignoring sensitive green issues under new environment minister M Veerappa Moily, the government has approved a pending Rs 290 crore scheme to build capacity at both central and state levels to assess impact ofclimate change in vulnerable areas and associated risks. 

Besides, it also cleared a proposal to set up an institute on climate change studies in the name of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. 

"Both these proposals were cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday," said Moily, seeking to give an impression that his ministry was equally concerned of green cause and climate change. 

Moily told TOI that the finance ministry had agreed to release funds for the scheme which is to be implemented beginning next fiscal. 

As far as setting up the 
Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Climate Change Studies and Actions is concerned, the minister said a committee of secretaries (CoS) would soon take a call on structure of the institute and the timeline for its completion. 

The CoS will comprise of secretaries in the ministries of environment and forest, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, water resources and earth science. 

The Rajiv Gandhi Institute - which is to be set up here as an autonomous body — will have four key functional areas related to environmental-scientific assessments and modeling; economic and legal analysis, monitoring and policy making; training, capacity building and advocacy and database, documentation and inventory management. 

The capacity building scheme - which got the Cabinet's nod on Monday - is designed to undertake and augment various activities including Coordination of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and State Action Plan on Climate Change. 

The 
NAPCC, comprising eight government-backed missions, was launched by the Centre in 2008. It includes government's priority area to work in the field of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, conserving water, sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, a "Green India" mission, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge platform for Climate Change. 

The Times of India (22-01-2014)